The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra's 17-piece big band—a medley of brass, bass, piano, and drums—aims to spread jazz like an infectious case of the cooties. Dozens of local concerts and festivals throughout the US and Europe have benefited from their playing, and four CDs have made it so fans can bring the magic home. To add zest to their stew of performances and bring new voices to the area, the ensemble also hosts regular guest artists, including world-renowned soloists. And the group further instills appreciation with a "Jazz in Schools" initiative and a free, annual "Jazz on the Square" concert that lets audiences take in the music in the open air.
Dance Tonight co-owner Jeremy Norris knows his students. "When it comes down to it, everyone really dances for one reason: to have fun," he states on his school’s website. Co-owner Emily Loyless and their staff of fellow NDCA-registered instructors share his sentiment. In addition to teaching salsa, west coast swing, and country dancing, their dance studio turns into a ballroom dance party on Friday nights where students practice moves from their lessons. Norris and company also schedule Zumba dance fitness classes, whose calorie burn far exceeds that of completing 100 Macarenas.
The Knoxville Opera sings most of its notes in a venue befitting the regality of its material: the Tennessee Theatre. The former movie-house and decades-old stage swathes performers in Spanish-Moorish design, a strikingly blue domed ceiling, burgundy velvet seats, and gold accents. But the opera singers don't keep their voices contained there. Education and outreach programs send them throughout the community, performing at schools, shaking the downtown streets during themed festivals, and aiding local construction companies by shattering old glass buildings.
As soon as the players take the court for the 2 p.m. tip-off, the nationally ranked Volunteers basketball squadron is sure to dazzle fans with dribbles, dunks, dishes, and maybe even a few inside-the-park home runs. Lead by the long, athletic prowess of Tobias Harris, Scotty Hopson, Cameron Tatum, and the rest of the sphere-shooting titans, the Volunteers have built a reputation as a fast team that will run the court and score quick, exciting baskets. Diehard Tennessee fans can catch head coach Bruce Pearl as he parades the sideline with a fury of energetic antics to rile up his squadron against the stingy Charleston Cougars team. End 2010 with a flurry of tomahawk jams with today's Groupon to a New Year's Eve Tennessee basketball game.
As part of the National Premier Soccer League, both teams of the Knoxville Force showcase top amateur players from high school, college, and around the world as they prepare for professional careers. Since its founding in 2011, the Force organization has thrilled local soccer fans with teams built around some of the region's best athletes as well as imports from other national and international teams. Both the men's and women's teams scurry across the pitch at University of Tennessee's Regal Soccer Stadium, and each holds tryouts prior to each season to make sure top recruits aren't actually kids stacked on each other's shoulders, as those cleats would probably dig in pretty hard.
This year, approximately 150 performers will contribute to the annual production of Tchaikovsky's exuberant ballet suite The Nutcracker, including members of the Farragut High School Choir, who will make a special appearance in Act I. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's bounding melodies will nurture audiences’ ears as toy soldiers leap and lunge vivaciously on stage, battling the giant rat king en pointe and fluttering through a set of snowy trees, shiny presents, thoughtful e-cards, and a gilded grandfather clock.